The UK’s 47,000 driving instructors face a new fines’ regime that could drive some of them out of business, Unite, the country’s largest union, warned today (Thursday 8 August).
And the cost of these proposals could be passed on to learner drivers bumping up the cost of a lesson, currently about £24, at a time when household budgets are already tight.
In proposals contained in the Modernising Driver Training consultation from the Driving Standards Agency (DSA) driving instructors could be fined between £200-£2,000 for a breach of the rules.
Fines could be dished out for not displaying the Approved Driving Instructor (ADI) licence while working – sometimes instructors forget while switching between manual and automatic vehicles; and failing to make sure the candidate has the correct paperwork when attending their test.
Instructors already face being removed or suspended from the ADI register, but for the first time since the driving test was introduced in 1935, a fines’ regime is on the cards.
Unite believes such breaches should be dealt with by the police rather than the heavy handed approach of involving the ADI registrar.
If the driver instructor appeals he/she would have to fork out about £3,860 for this hearing - again, for the first time. This does not include the cost to the driving instructor of attending the appeal and there is no provision for the instructor to reclaim their costs, even if they win the appeal.
Unite national officer for road transport Matt Draper said: “These proposals seem to be an example of using the heavy handed approach to squeeze money from the driving instructors.
“We are calling on the DSA to rethink its proposals which will have the ultimate effect of forcing driving instructors to pass on these newly imposed fines to the customer, already struggling with soaring living costs.
“Some of our members could be pushed to the verge of bankruptcy - and beyond – by this new fines’ regime. Charging nearly £4,000 for an appeal hearing is outrageous; especially, if the instructor wins, there appears to be no avenue for reclaiming costs.”
Unite is also against the DSA’s proposal to outsource the ADI qualification process, as it is not making any money from it and currently ministers will not let it increase the test fees for the qualifying exams.
Matt Draper said: “Unite does not believe there is an outside accredited organisation with the necessary skills to undertake this. There are many educational institutions that may be very good at training classroom based subjects, but the moving environment of a driving school vehicle is totally different.”
For further information please contact Unite senior communications officer Shaun Noble on 07768 693940
- Unite is Britain and Ireland’s largest trade union with 1.4 million members working across all sectors of the economy. The general secretary is Len McCluskey.